[MUD-Dev] Role-Playing Games Are Not Dead

Sellers Sellers
Wed Nov 21 10:11:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Dave Rickey wrote:
> From: Michael Tresca <talien at toast.net>

>> Ryan Dancey (Wizards of the Coast VP, Dungeons & Dragons brand
>> manager) was so kind as to provide some statistics
>>   http://www.rpg.net/pf/read.php?f=61&i=25462&t=25402

>>   * WOTC's market research found "more than 2 million people,
>>   between the ages of 12 and 35 in the US playing at least one
>>   tabletop RPG monthly, and nearly 5 million who reported playing
>>   at least once sometime in the past year."

Take a look at their methodology. While they claim their methods are
typical for marketing, they make an enormous set of assumptions by
not taking into account the self-selecting nature of their survey
respondants.  They then assume that they can extrapolate from their
second, more specialized population (those who answered the detailed
survey) back to the general population -- which is how they come up
with those millions of people supposedly playing RPGs monthly.

You can see how problematic this is by how it doesn't correlate with
Hasbro/WoTC/TSR's own sales figures, to say nothing of the ancillary
sales for miniatures, dice, etc.  If there were a potential, viable
market of 5 million people, the paper RPG industry would outshine
the computer game industry in terms of sales outlets, budgets, etc.

In other words, this survey done by WoTC is just a bit self-serving,
and reads to me more like the hopeful analysis done as part of a
business plan than a realistic look at the state of the market and
industry.  From the research I've done (admittedly a couple of years
old), I'd say their figures are off by *at least* an order of
magnitude, probably more.

>> The claim: there are more tabletop RPGers than online
>> gamers. Note that he did not say this means the role-playing game
>> industry makes more money than CRPGs.
> It's all proceeding from a false (as least questionable)
> assumption, apparently the statement of which triggered the
> thread: That OLRPG's are competing with table-top games.  They
> don't, in any meaningful sense beyond the idea that all forms of
> entertainment are chasing the same consumer dollar.

Yes, exactly.  That and a desire for bygone days and a general wish
that these games were more generally popular than they are.

Mike Sellers
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